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Fees could see lower candidate numbers - Solomon Islands electoral office
6:33 pm GMT+12, 21/02/2019, Solomon Islands

The chief electoral officer in Solomon Islands says higher fees for nominations could see fewer candidates contesting this year's election than in previous ballots.
 
Since the close of nominations Wednesday, 304 candidates had been tallied although several constituencies were yet to submit their candidates list.
 
During the 2014 election there were nearly 450 candidates and in 2010 there were more than 500.
 
This year the nomination fee was raised from US$250 to US$620.
 
Mose Saitala said the final number of candidates will not be known until the close of a two day withdrawal period but the fees are a definite factor in the decrease in numbers.
 
“At the moment we are only having about 304 confirmed I think that will be about 80 - 85 percent. So we might have an increase but I doubt we will be able to surpass the number that we had in 2014 contesting the elections."
 
But he said a decrease in the number of candidates contesting the election could be a positive development as it will give the winner a greater mandate
 
He said there is also hope it will reduce the fielding of "shadow candidates", a tactic employed by larger political parties and powerful independents in the past.
 
“You know the purpose of shadow candidates is really to spoil the other, split up the vote so that the main candidates can have a better chance. But I strongly believe with a fee of $SBD5000 (US$2,351) running shadow candidates can be an expensive exercise now," he said.

SOURCE:RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS


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